Well, keeping the seed catalogs in the bathroom is still part of it although finding resources online has superseded them for the most part. It is also time to read new books and research new plants that one may be thinking about. There is also the joy of discovering new ones.

I like to draw sketches of the layouts for planting and if it is not bitter cold or snow bound I often do measuring for new beds which I sometimes lay out and prepare. I also like to measure in all directions from potential sites for planting new trees with an eye on how big the mature tree will be.

It is not too early to order seeds and all the supplies needed for starting seeds in the windows. If there were particular problems in the garden during the just past season it is always a good time to do some reading and find out how to avoid a repeat. Sometimes this information can lead you to resistant varieties that you can find and order now.

A sunny day in winter is not a bad time to do a bit of fruit tree pruning as long as one is careful not to cut all the bud sites. One of the things that one might research is about what plants bloom and or fruit only on old growth so one can be sure not to diminish next years enjoyment when pruning.

The freeze thaw cycle is excellent for composting and helps breakdown the organic matter into the gold that will make your garden grow in the spring.

 If one is using thick compost layers to avoid excessive digging next year it is obviously the time to build up the layers with fallen leaves and other organic matter that will retard the growth of grass and weeds in the spring.

Many companies will take your orders and send your choices to you at the appropriate time for planting in your climate zone. I am already ordering seeds and have placed a number of orders for plants and tubers that will arrive at the right time for planting.

If there is hardscape or building to be done in the garden area it is best, of course, to do it when most of the garden is dormant. Its also a great time to clean and examine all of your gardening tools to make sure they are up to another season or to replace them.

A bit closer to spring I am going to place the basic elements of a drip watering system and place rain barrels on the downspouts at church.

The mind is a garden too and mine enjoys few things more than contemplating what I plan to do in my garden in the future. I can't help but believe that there is a strong resonance between these gardens. I know that the exterior one has a calming, joyful and healing effect on both the garden of my mind and of my body.
Father Farmer


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